UNCASVILLE, Conn. “Draft Day” It’s a dream come true for Natalie Achonwa.
The 6-foot-3 Notre Dame forward and once the youngest member of the Canadian Senior Women’s National team (2002) was drafted ninth overall by the Indiana Fever at the 2014 WNBA Draft capping off a glorious collegiate career with the Irish and starting a new chapter after she tore her ACL just minutes before the Irish clinched a spot in the 2014 Final Four and eventually coming short in the National Championship game to eventual national champions UCONN Huskies.
BLESSED to now be a member of the Indiana Fever!
The Canadian and first international player (foreign) in 37-year with the Irish she improved her play each year, and stamped her name across a number of the schools all-time records including becoming only the 29th player in the reach the 1000+ point club and earning her way to podium to shake the commissioner’s hand and, for a quick and well deserved moment forgetting about that ACL injury that ended her NCAA career.
“I actually planned it out exactly how I was going to get up, who I was going to hug first, but as soon I heard my name called I started tearing up and a literally just popped right up and I’m going to feel it in the morning because I forgot how to walk up the stairs, I was really excited.” Achonwa described the special moment backstage.
“The last couple of weeks I have literally hit every single emotion possible with the injury and then going to the Final Four, there was some much going on and it never really sat in until I was walking up the stage. I’m just really excited that Indiana took a change on me and drafted me injured.”
The selection marks the first time two Canadian female players have been selected in the first-round as Edmonton’s Michelle Plouffe was also drafted 19th overall by the Settle Storm becoming the first Edmonton based player ever to reach the WNBA.
It looks like the Canadian Invasion is also starting to hit the WNBA ranks. From Stacy Dales to Tammy Sutton-Brown to now Achonwa & Michelle Plouffe and the next ones in line. (Nirra Fields.)
Maybe we can get Drake to drop a few bars on about Achonwa and the Canadian takeover on his next web release. #DraftDay
Stacey Dales-Schuman is the highest Canadian drafted in the league’s history when the Washington Mystics selected here with the third-overall pick and Tammy Sutton, selected the 18th overall in 2001 is the only Canadian to be selected as a league All-Star. Kayla Alexander (Syracuse Orange) of Milton, Ontario was selected 8th overall in the 2013 draft.
The 2014 WNBA season tips on May 16.
Sister Act. Ogwumike Siblings Spark Hollywood Reunion In Los Angeles
It’s a family affair in Hollywood.
‘Mike check, 1…2, 1…2. Chiney Ogwumike has gone from the Connecticut Sun to a Californian one to reunite with Stanford sister Nneka.
And in an instant the Candace Parker Sparks have plugged themselves in to this year’s favourite to be the HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER, ‘Captain Marvel’ of the WNBA.
The Sparks are now illuminated by this former scorching Sun star, her former MVP sister, Candace, Point Goddess Chelsea Gray and hot clutch shooter Alana Beard. And that’s just for starters, before we get to the splinters that will stick in you from the bolstered bench. Or their seventh seal in this year’s draft, the Baylor made star Kalani Brown.
Looks like Laker legend and new coach Derek Fisher-no stranger to the closing seconds of the game himself-has a lot to light up from his sideline fuse.
The Sparks gave up a first round draft pick from next year’s 2020 lottery to get this former number one pick in the 2014 pick of players and it was well worth every spot. Chiney is a star in her prime now, whilst her sister Nneka is a veteran legend. Combine the two of them together on the same squad like their Stanford college alumni days and you have a one, two punch like the Sparks had in the legendary Lisa Leslie days alongside Candace Parker. Except the Los Angeles Sparks still have Parker. One of the best players in the league right now and for all time, giving them an even better big-three and superteam then they’ve ever had in their purple and gold coronation.
This is beautiful for a game that is all about family. From the Grant one to the Lopez twin peaks. Even sons inheriting the skills of their father from Gary Payton II to Tim Hardaway Jnr. To what’s to come from Bol Bol, Shareef O’Neal (let’s make this special and get him drafted to pops Lake Show) and Bronny.
Oh yeah and the Ball boys.
But nothing is quite as special as these sisters doing it for themselves and each other on the Lakers sister squad that now stands as its own in STAPLES like the California clashing Clippers.
After becoming Rookie of the Year, Chiney suffered through knee and Achilles injuries whilst playing in China which stunted her seasons. But in the last one this low post threat, bullied back in the paint with a 14 point average and half of that in rebounds with seven. Expect those stats that would be the perfect compliment to Candace and big sis to only improve anyway. As will the perimeter presence of the likes of All Star point Gray and Beard trimming down those shots from downtown Pico.
Peek at your 2019 WNBA champions. Because the best of the best Skylar Diggings-Smith and Breanna Stewart will join the legendary likes of Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore missing the majority if not in most cases all the forthcoming season. Which is such a shame, even if there is so much more talent on display in this expect great league. But with Storm’s weathered in Seattle and Dallas Wings clipped, these Sparks with the Fish that saved L.A. in charge are showing like in the Michael Cooper days they are more than just a legendary name plugged into their head coaching seat.
The stand for one of the best leagues in the greatest game and it’s next generation starts now.
Watch them make way and lead the charge in their game, their way.
And worthy of a Hollywood story, but a real household one, these sisters are each other keepers.
Canada’s Bridget Carleton selected 21st overall WNBA Draft
“Number 21 — went number 21, maybe there is a little karma there.”
Canadian Bridget Carleton (Chatham, Ont.) was selected 21st overall (2nd round,9th pick) by the Connecticut Sun at the 2019 WNBA Draft.
Carleton concluded arguably the best season by a Canadian woman at the NCAA division one level — culminating a spectacular career as the best small forward in the country earning the recipient of the 2019 Cheryl Miller award and Big 12 player of the year award — a first for a Cyclones player and a Canadian.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be drafted by the Connecticut Sun,” Carleton said. ” They have a great franchise and an amazing coaching staff. I can’t wait to get there, soak it all in and work as hard as I can. I am looking forward to starting this chapter of my basketball career.” —
In four years with Cyclones the 6’1″ guard racked-up almost every accolade possible, including consecutive unanimous all-Big 12
Consistent throughout her NCAA collegiate career, Carleton averaged a career-best 21.4 points per game, alongside 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks while improving her already impressive shooting numbers to 46.3% from field, 37% from three-pointers and 85.4 the foul-line.
Starting in 121 out of a possible 124 games for Iowa State, Carleton came-up eight-points shy of the school’s all-time scoring mark with 2142 points — failing to score under 19 points in a game just once in the
If it all goes according to plan, Iowa State could become the first NCAA school to have multiple Canadians selected in the WNBA and NBA drafts’ in the same year.
Both Marial Shayok (Ottawa) and Lindell Wigginton (Nova Scotia) who played crucial in the Cyclones men’s basketball program also declared in for the 2019 NBA Draft and strong cases for being selected in second-round.
Carleton’s selection marks the fifth straight year a Canadian has been drafted into the world’s best professional basketball league. Kia Nurke (2018) Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (2017), Adut Bulgak (2016), Ruth Hamblin (2016), Nirra Fields (2016), Natalie Anchonwa (2015)
Lastly, she is the first Canadian to be drafted out of the Big 12 since Canada’s highest WNBA pick — Stacey Dales out of the Oklahoma Sooners went third overall to the Washington Mystics back in 2002.